In cases involving multiple defendants in which one of the defendants has confessed and that confession implicates another defendant, courts must decide whether to hold separate trials for each defendant or use separate juries. This is because the defendant who made the confession may or may not testify. If he doesn't testify, the other defendants will be denied their 6th Amendment right of cross-examination (see for e.g., Bruton v. U.S.). As illustrated by the article below, using separate juries rather than separate trials saves not only time but money.
It's the first time in memory that the Contra Costa court has used dual juries -- a rarity in California courthouses. It is the second trial stemming from an August 2008 grand jury indictment against 12 Sureno gang members that is part of an unprecedented effort by San Pablo police and the District Attorney's Office to combat gang violence.
Gamaliel Elizalde, 31; Jose Mota, 23; and Javier Gomez, 21, currently are standing trial. One jury will weigh the guilt of Gomez, who admitted to shooting one of the victims and implicated Mota as an accomplice in his confession. The second jury, assigned to Mota and Elizalde, will hear no evidence of this confession because Mota has the right to cross-examine Gomez about the confession under the Sixth Amendment. But as a defendant, Gomez has the right not to testify. Mota also is accused of being an accomplice to a second killing, but Elizalde, the suspected gang leader, was not present at any of the killings...The trial is expected to last 11 weeks and will conclude with each jury having separate deliberations. The court saved about a month of trial days by trying all three defendants together. The cost of court staff and jury pay is about $2,950 per day, according to unofficial estimates from the state Judicial Council...to continue reading go here.